By Yassin Aref
Editor's Note: Nawa is a village in Syria. A very famous Islamic scholar and author who was born in that village many centuries ago, used his last name after his village and thus he is known as Imam Nawawi. This practice of naming after one's birthplace has been common throughout the history including the present time. He wrote a very famous book that includes 40 statements from the Prophet. People normally refer to this book as '40 of Nawawi'. Nawa, in Arabic means 'pit' or nut like the seed of a peach or a similar fruit. The same term is also used for the nucleus of an atom. So, many Arabic translators of Western Intelligence Agencies, very commonly, translated '40 of Nawawi' as '40 nuclear bombs'. The security alert mentioned in Yassin's note is really not a fiction. It has taken place in several countries on several occasions openly.
(Author's Note: This is a fictionalized depiction of the sort of thing that has been happening to a lot of Muslims in Europe – in this country things are much worse.)
Ali and Umar were close friends who had gone to high school together. Living in Europe, they were not religious, and mostly spent their time like any other youths in the west. But after the “War on Terror” began, things started to change. Some of their friends began avoiding them, others stopped joking with them. Some argued with them and accused them of being Muslims. They didn’t understand any of this – they were the same Ali and Umar as before… What was their crime? That their grandfather was from the Middle East? That they had Muslim names?
They were saddened by this, but were also pushed to read and study Islam in order to see what was considered so dangerous. After awhile they began to practice it, at first just in reaction to their former friends’ attitudes. Finally Ali decided to go to Syria to study the Arabic language in order to understand the Quran better. Umar asked him to send some books about Islam. After Ali left, Umar anxiously waited to hear from him. He wanted to know what Syria was like and wanted to get the books. Soon Ali called Umar.
“Hi. Peace be upon you,” Ali said.
“Oh, hi, it’s you. How are you?” asked Umar.
“I’m fine,” answered Ali.
“How is Damascus? What’s the weather like?”
“It’s really beautiful and nice here,” Ali replied.
“Don’t forget to send me An Nawawi [‘nuclear’]” said Umar.
“Which one?” asked Ali.
“Forty Hadith,” Umar said.
“I already sent it to you yesterday,” Ali answered.
“What about ‘Silahul Muemin’? [Believer’s Weapon] asked Umar.
“I’ll bring it with me when I return,” said Ali.
“Don’t forget, please, it’s important to me,” said Umar.
Ali said, “No, I won’t forget.”
Yassin Aref, August, 2007
Then they started to talk about different things, but soon Umar could hear a helicopter nearby. Now it sounded like it was landing on his roof. He told Ali he had to go and hung up the phone. He went to the window and saw many police cars, ambulances and even Special Forces. He had no idea what was going on and didn’t know what to do. They were surrounding his house. He tried to call his father but couldn’t get through. He then heard a loudspeaker saying the number of his house and yelling, “WHOEVER IS IN THERE COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP!” He opened the door and raised his hands. Ten-fifteen armed police were on him yelling, “GET DOWN! GET DOWN!” He did. They jumped on him and tied his hands and legs and covered his head.
“Who else is in there?” the men asked.
“No one,” he answered, trembling.
“Do you have any weapons in the house?”
“Do you have any chemical materials?”
They took him to one of the cars and started searching his house. They found nothing so they took him inside. They uncovered his head and began questioning him.
“Who were you talking to on the phone?”
“My friend Ali.”
“Where was he calling from?”
“How do you know him?”
“He’s my friend. He went to Syria just last week.”
“Where is the nuclear weapon he sent you?”
“What??” Umar asked, shocked.
“The nuclear weapon!” the man repeated.
“No! He didn’t send me anything except one book and I haven’t received it yet.”
“What about the word ‘nuclear’ – you were talking about it!”
“We didn’t say anything about ‘nuclear’ or weapons! That’s a lie!” said Umar.
They shouted at him that HE was a liar and said “We have a tape of your phone call and you did say that!”
“Show me what I said!” responded Umar.
They brought a translator who said, “Ali told you he sent a Nawawi to you already!”
“So what is Nawawi supposed to mean?” asked Umar.
“It means nuclear weapon!” said the translator.
“No,” said Umar, “Nawawi is the name of a famous scholar who lived eight centuries ago, and they called his books An Nawali too.”
“What about ‘Forty Hadith?’ he was asked.
“That’s the name of his book which Ali sent me. ‘Hadith’ means a saying of the Prophet Mohamed. In the book Nawawi collected forty main sayings of the Prophet and it is a very famous book,” said Umar.
“So where is it?” they asked.
“I didn’t get it yet – he only sent it to me yesterday. It will take a week or ten days to reach me,” answered Umar.
“But what about ‘believer’s weapon’- ‘silahul muemin’”? they continued.
“That’s the name of a book all about prayer and supplication,” responded Umar.
At that point the men looked at each other and realized something was off. They made some phone calls. They checked Ali and Umar’s backgrounds and found nothing. They had searched the house and found nothing. Now it seemed clear that they had only been talking about books and prayers, not nuclear weapons or any weapons… They made a few more phone calls and talked a little more on their radios. They realized they had made a big mistake. The Operation Commander started cursing and yelling. Umar didn’t understand everything he said, but heard that he was complaining about wiretapping and depending on foreign intelligence… They apologized to Umar and pulled back all the Special Forces and police!
Umar was lucky. If he was in America, they would never have apologized. Instead they would have paid someone to testify against him, maybe someone who otherwise would have been in prison. If that didn’t work, they would have charged him with some immigration violation and deported him to cover up their mistakes! They need to justify using wiretapping to find terrorists…
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